Skip to main content

Full text of "Proceedings of the unveiling of the statue of John Sandfield Macdonald, first Prime Minister of Ontario, in the Queen's Park, Toronto, November 16th, 1909"

See other formats


Queen's University at Kingston 

'..iJ3I <! iaVIA2 



Proceedings at the Unveiling 
of the Statue of 

John Sandfield Macdonald 

First Prime Minister 
of Ontario 

in the 

Queen's Park, Toronto 
November 16th, 1909 


Printed and Published by L. K. Cameron, Printer to the 

King's Most Excellent Majesty 


John Sandfield Macdonald 


ON Tuesday, 16th November, 1909, at 
three o'clock p.m., a large and repre- 
sentative gathering of public men, com- 
prising the members of the Ontario Cabinet, 
Senators, Members of the House of Commons, 
Members of the Legislature, Judges and other 
dignitaries, assembled in the Legislative 
Chamber in the Parliament Buildings at 
Toronto in order to take part in the cere- 
monies attendant upon the unveiling of the 
statue of the late Honourable John Sandfield 
Macdonald, Prime Minister of the old Pro- 
vince of Canada, and first Prime Minister of 
the Province of Ontario under the British 
North America Act. The sum of ten thousand 
dollars had been appropriated by the Provin- 
cial Legislature two years previously for the 
purpose, and the work of designing and exe- 
cuting the statue had been entrusted to Mr. 


Walter S. Allward, A.R.C.A., Sculptor, of 

Owing to the inclement weather it was 
found necessary to utilize the Legislative 
Chamber for the occasion. A number of ladies 
occupied seats on the floor of the Chamber, 
among them Madame Langlois, a daughter of 
the deceased statesman, who was accompanied 
by her two sons. An unique feature of the 
occasion was the presence of the thirteen sur- 
viving members of the Civil Service, who first 
entered upon their duties under the Premier- 
ship of Mr. Macdonald. They are: Messrs. 
A. H. Sydere, Clerk of the House; Lieut-Col. 
J. M. Delamere, Clerk Assistant; F. J. Glack- 
meyer, Sergeant-at-Arms; C. H. Sproule, 
Assistant Treasurer; Dr. J. G. Hodgins, His- 
toriographer of the Department of Education; 
George B. Kirkpatrick, Director of Surveys; 

D. R. Ross, R. H. Brown, J. H. C. Ussher, 

E. Jenkinson, James Edwards, H. R. Alley 
and R. A. Kent. 

A few minutes after three o'clock His 
Honour the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, 
the Honourable John Morison Gibson, entered 
the Chamber, accompanied by the Prime Min- 


ister, Sir James Whitney, and took his seat in 
the Speaker's chair. 

Sir lames Whitney then said: Sir James 

° J Whitney 

Your Honour, and Ladies and Gentlemen, — 
We have come together to-day to perform the 
final act in the expression of the appreciation 
of the Legislature of Ontario of the life and 
services of one of the great men of the Pro- 

The Honourable John Sandfield Macdonald, 
one of Her Majesty's Counsel, Speaker of the 
Legislative Assembly, and Prime Minister and 
Attorney-General, all of the old Province of 
Canada, composed of the two Provinces of 
Upper and Lower Canada, and later on the 
first Prime Minister and Attorney-General of 
the Province of Ontario under the British 
North America Act, was descended from a 
Highland family which came from Scotland 
about the year 1786. He was born at St. 
Raphael, in the County of Glengarry, Decem- 
ber 12, 1812, and received his elementary edu- 
cation there. Afterwards he attended the 
Grammar School at Cornwall, of which Rev. 
Hugh Urquhart, D.D., was then headmaster. 
He studied law, first with Mr. Archibald 


sir james jY[ c L ean afterwards Chief Justice of Upper 

Whitney ' *> r r 

Canada, then with Mr. Draper, also afterwards 
Chief Justice of Upper Canada, was called to 
the Bar, and settled down to practise at Corn- 

During the rebellion of 1837-8 he was sent 
to Washington with dispatches for the British 
Minister, and there met his future wife, a 
daughter of the Hon. George Waggaman, 
United States Senator from Louisiana. Mr. 
Macdonald was elected to Parliament for his 
native county of Glengarry in 1841. He sat 
for this constituency until the General Election 
of 1857, when he was returned for the con- 
stituency of Cornwall, which he represented 
until his death in 1872, his brother Donald suc- 
ceeding him in Glengarry. His evident capa- 
city brought him speedily to the front, and in 
1849 he was chosen by Mr. Baldwin to suc- 
ceed Hon. W. H. Blake as Solicitor-General. 
On the retirement of Messrs. Baldwin and 
Lafontaine in 1851 he was, on account of a 
difference with the Prime Minister as to the 
Portfolio he should assume, left out of the 
Government formed by Mr. Hincks, but was 
chosen Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in 



1852. His next official position was that of^ r J t a ™ s 
Attorney-General in the short-lived Brown- 
Dorion Administration of 1858. In 1862 he 
became Prime Minister under very difficult 
conditions, and remained in power a little less 
than two years. On at least two occasions he 
declined flattering invitations to assume Min- 
isterial responsibility, doing so on one of these 
occasions in the characteristic and laconic 
telegram, " No go." 

Although opposed to the scheme of Confed- 
eration as planned, the task of organizing and 
bringing into force the Provincial Government 
under the new order of things was entrusted 
to him, and it is now admitted on all hands 
that he performed this very important work 
with credit to himself and to the advantage of 
the people. 

This is not the time nor the occasion to enter 
into a consideration of his public acts, or, 
indeed, of his political career. However, a 
few words may be said about his individual or 
personal characteristics and as to how he 
appeared to those who knew him — now, alas, 
very few in number among the living. Mr. 
Macdonald was a man of great force of char- 


S whftney acter anc * individuality. These were his pre- 
dominant characteristics. Once he formed an 
opinion, or came to a conclusion on any sub- 
ject, it was not easy to turn him aside. Conse- 
quently Party limitations and conditions galled 
him, and, as a rule, he went his own way and 
voted as he thought proper. The position he 
occupied in the political world was indeed 
unique. A Roman Catholic, he at first 
opposed Separate Schools, but afterwards 
acquiesced in the settlement of the question 
which was made; and as a Reformer he was 
distinctly antagonistic to what was known as 
the Clear Grit wing of the Party. His aloof- 
ness, so to speak, from Party discipline and 
control served him well, however, when he 
assumed the task of bringing into operation the 
first Provincial Government. The situation 
suited him exactly. His detached position left 
him free from Party entanglements, and he 
formed what he called a Combination Govern- 
ment, later on described as a Patent Combina- 
tion. He was not, however, a successful poli- 
tical manager, and indeed, having regard to 
what I have indicated above, he could not have 
been one. It has been said of him by a friend 


that a scrupulous concern for the interests oi'^J 
the people at large dominated him and never 
deserted him. No single act of wrong-doing 
in office to serve his own personal ends can be 
charged against him. His name is not tar- 
nished by even a whisper of a charge of this 
character. So particular was he in this respect 
that in appointments to office he never selected 
his own relatives, though he might often have 
done so without injury to* the public interests. 
Whatever might have been his shortcomings, 
he was as pure a statesman as ever lived. It 
mattered not to him that urgent applicants for 
favours might insinuate that it was the Treas- 
ury of the Province he had to deal with. He 
managed it as he did his own private affairs, 
and he much preferred to be generous with his 
own than with monies for the management 
of which he considered himself a Trustee. 

As to his personal qualities they are well set 
forth in the language of a gentleman, now 
deceased, who was very close to him during 
the last five years of his life, and who said of 
him as follows : 

" Socially Mr. Macdonald had not many like 
him in the political world of Canada. Pos- 



S whftn e e y sesse d of a ready wit, a most retentive memory 
and a keen appreciation of the ludicrous, he 
was always a chief spirit in every gathering not 
essentially of a public kind. He was fond of 
society — not fashionable society, merely, 
although with an outward air of seeming care- 
lessness he had strong aristocratic leanings — 
but of society which added a relish to the more 
serious duties of life. His private means 
enabled him to entertain largely, and he did 
so in a generous manner, as one who took real 
pleasure in seeing his friends around him. 
Distinguished in private life by the largest- 
hearted hospitality, Mr. Macdonald counted 
his friends by hundreds. Whether it was that 
the Military were quartered at Cornwall, as 
at the time of the Fenian Raid, or a gunboat 
was anchored in the stream, or Assizes were 
going on in the town, Ivy Hall was open 
house. One of the last remarks he made was 
to remind his family that his friends, Mr. 
George Stephen (now Lord Mount-Stephen), 
Sir Hugh Allan, Mr. E. H. King, and Mr. 
Donald Mclnnes were expected that day to 
visit the manufacturing establishment about to 
be erected at Cornwall and must be invited to 


Mr. Macdonald was one of the great meni^ r J t a ™ s 
of the pre-Confederation era. His place in 
history will be alongside and not the least 
among, Draper, Baldwin, John A. Macdonald, 
Blake and Brown. If I may be allowed to say 
it, we of this generation should never forget 
that much of what we enjoy and prize to-day 
is the outcome and result of the ideas and 
labours of these men and their associates, all 
of whom lovecl to serve the State; and that 
out of the clash and friction of the often antag- 
onistic views held and maintained by them 
have come many of the things which have 
made this country of ours " a land where 
freemen dwell," where settled Government 
obtains, where the moral standard of the 
people is high, and where God's blessing seems 
to rest. (Applause.) 

As a witness and testimonial to the public 
services of Mr. Macdonald, the Government 
and Legislature of Ontario have decreed the 
^erection of this monument, which it is my duty 
to ask His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor 
to unveil. 

In this hasty appreciation I have endeav- 
oured to bring into relief merely the main char- 
acteristics of the man without attempting any- 


S whftT e e y thin § furt her. As one a few years of whose 
early life were passed within the influence of 
his personality, it has been a labour of love, 
tempered with anxiety, knowing my limita- 
tions, and I esteem it an honour and privilege 
indeed to be the instrument by which the Leg- 
islature of this Province has carried out its 
desire to honour one of the great men of the 
Province of Ontario. 

His resting-place is surrounded by the 
graves of those who loved, admired and 
trusted him, while the memorial of his capacity 
and his services to the State finds a place 
among similar tributes to other great men and 
near to the effigy of the great Queen whose 
loyal subject and servant he was proud to be. 
(Loud applause.) 

Sir James Whitney then called upon the 
Hon. A. G. MacKay, K.C., Leader of the 
Opposition in the Legislature. 
Honourable Hon. Mr. MacKay said : 

Your Honour, Ladies and Gentlemen, — As 
usual, speaking from this side of the chamber 
I find the majority on the other side. (Laugh- 
ter.) I may say that it affords me very great 
pleasure indeed to be here to take some small 


part in this ceremony. As has just been f^JitcKay 
explained by the Premier of this Province, this 
is a Provincial function. The Province, 
through the Legislature and the Government, 
has very properly and very fittingly decided 
to erect some memorial to the memory of a 
distinguished public man. An occasion of 
this kind has in it something of the senti- 
mental. I do not know that a little more senti- 
ment in Canadian life would be amiss. I do 
not know that in this age of materialism a trifle 
more of the sentimental would be an injury to 
Canadians as a whole. 

So far as I can judge of the life of the late 
John Sandfield Macdonald — and I am not at 
all certain that I have a personal recollection 
of all the events of his life (laughter) — but so 
far as I can judge, perhaps the most striking 
thing the Premier has just said about him is 
that he was a man of great force of character. 
When you find a young man at twenty years 
of age, an ordinary lad, apparently, behind the 
counter in the shop ; when you find him at that 
age apparently taking life seriously and deter- 
mining upon a different course and a different 
career; when you find him with an ordinary 
public school education entering the Grammar 


A. G. MacKay 

J! on ^ School under the able tuition of Dr. Urquhart, 
and then find him two years later head boy of 
his class and school; when you find him enter- 
ing law in 1835, called to the bar in 1840 and 
elected to the Parliament of Old Canada in 
1841 ; when you find him elected by acclama- 
tion to represent the old County of Glengarry 
in 1848, 1852 and 1854; when you find him 
Premier of the Province of Canada in 1862 
and in 1867 First Prime Minister of the Pro- 
vince of Ontario — these few outstanding facts 
in his life indicate, nay, prove conclusively, 
that he was not only a man of great force of 
character but a man of fine tenacity of pur- 
pose, a man, Sir, not only with great capacity 
for work but with an energetic application of 
that capacity. 

Now, Sir, I do not purpose to occupy more 
than a few minutes of your time. A great deal 
has been said with reference to what may be 
called the personal history of the man. One's 
mind naturally, however, turns to his achieve- 
ments as a public servant and the position he 
took with reference to the important problems 
that engaged the attention of Parliamentarians 
during his career; not with any view or intent 
of either criticizing or pretending to pass upon 


the particular stand which he may have taken "™ c 
upon any public question. The present is not 
the occasion for such criticism. The question 
of responsible Government seems to have been 
decidedly the largest question dealt with by 
the Parliament of Old Canada during the 
earlier years in which the late John Sandfleld 
Macdonald was a member of that Parliament. 
It is a pretty far cry, indeed, so far as consti- 
tutional Government in Canada is concerned, 
from 1841, when he first entered public life, to 
1871, when he laid down the reins of office 
as Premier of this Province. Doubtless, sir, 
the older persons present will recall the situa- 
tion in 1841, when he was called upon to give 
his first vote upon the question of responsible 
Government. It will be remembered that in 
October, 1839, Lord John Russell, then Col- 
onial Secretary, in a despatch to the Right 
Honourable Poulette Thompson, enunciates 
his idea of the relationship that ought to exist 
between Downing Street, the Governor and 
the Executive Council. Lord Sydenham was 
then, and still in 1841, the Governor. Lord 
John Russell points out in effect that if the 
Governor is to be advised by the Executive 
Council and not by the home Government that 




a G°MacKay ^ e would occupy at once practically the 
position of an independent sovereign. I 
do not propose to criticise adversely or 
otherwise the stand taken by the late 
John Sandfield Macdonald on that important 
question, but simply to note that he was 
scarcely seated in Parliament in 1841 
when he was called upon to vote upon a 
resolution that Parliament ought to exercise a 
constitutional control over the Executive, and 
that the Executive ought to be responsible to 
the people's representatives, and through them 
to the people; that the advisers of the Crown 
ought to be responsible to Parliament, and 
when they had not the confidence of Parlia- 
ment, the advisers of the Crown ought to be 
changed. The contest was, in short, whether 
the Governor should control the Executive, or 
whether Parliament should control the Execu- 
tive. I repeat, Sir, it is a far cry indeed, so far 
as constitutional Government is concerned, 
from the state of affairs that then existed to 
what now exists. The late John Sandfield 
Macdonald's first vote on this question was on 
what now would generally be conceded to be 
the wrong side; but as to this question his may 
be said to be a harvest that grew the more by 


reaping, and his later stand upon the same ^ £ 0U M a a b C K ay 
question shows the decidedly independent 
character of the man and proves him to be a 
strong personality and above narrow partyism. 
It will be remembered that in 1843, or only 
two years later, when Sir Charles Metcalfe, 
the then Governor, maintained his right to con- 
sult the Executive Council only upon what he 
called " adequate occasions," and he was him- 
self, of course, to be the judge of what occa- 
sions were " adequate," the then Baldwin- 
Lafontaine Government resigned as a protest, 
and the same John Sandfield Macdonald, who 
in 1841 fought with the Loyalists, in 1843 
went back to the same old County of Glen- 
garry, supported the Ministry in its then con- 
tention and, notwithstanding his decided 
change of front, very considerably increased 
his majority. The man who could do that had 
not only strength of character but a home 
strength that few public men have. 

The leading events of his career have been 
very succinctly and neatly set out by the Prime 
Minister of this Province. He touched upon 
what, after all, is the strongest characteristic of 
any man in either private or public life; above 
and beyond party, above and beyond know- 


a G°MacK b ay l e dg e > above and beyond intellect, surpassing 
all these are the honesty and integrity of the 
man, whether in private or public life. He 
was not a place man. After he had been Solici- 
tor-General in 1849 and 1850 he could have 
been head of the Crown Lands Department in 
1851 had he so desired; and as to the question 
of responsibility, how different is the position 
of a Minister of Crown Lands now to the then 
head of a Crown Lands Department. How 
happy our Minister of Crown Lands would be 
if he were not responsible to the people and 
did not have to assume the responsibility of 
advising the Governor, not being a member of 
the Executive Council! But what I was about 
to say was that the late John Sandfield Mac- 
donald was evidently not only not a place man 
but he was evidently an independent man. 
Having been Solicitor-General in 1849 and 
1850 in the Baldwin-Lafontaine administra- 
tion, and having in 1851 been offered the office 
of head of the Crown Lands in the Hincks 
administration, he promptly declined to accept 
the same, presumably upon the ground that 
having been Solicitor-General he was naturally 
in line for the Attorney-Generalship. Not 
having been offered the same, he declined to 


accept any different portfolio. He occupied 
the Speaker's chair from '52 to '54 and was 
Attorney-General in 1858 in the Brown- 
Dorion administration, and, as has been already 
pointed out, he was Premier and Attorney- 
General of the old Province of Canada from 
1862 to 1864 and was First Premier of this 
Province from '67 to '71. 

But in summing up his life, your Honour, I 
think all Canadians will agree in this, that he 
was a man of undoubted integrity, of very con- 
siderable energy, outspoken, and independent 
in thought and action. We may criticise 
adversely or otherwise many of the acts of 
this public man who is gone; we may differ 
with him as to the view he took at the outset 
with respect to the great question of respon- 
sible government; we may differ with him as 
to his position taken upon the somewhat impor- 
tant question of representation by population; 
we may differ with him in his opposition to 
Confederation; but I think, sir, all are agreed 
in this, that when he passed off the public 
stage and laid down the seals of office he left 
behind him a record of integrity and honesty, 
the record of a blameless and unimpeachable 
public life; and in so doing he left behind him 


A. G. MacKay 

A Honourable ^g g rea test legacy that a public man could 

A. G. MacKay ° ° J r 

possibly leave to succeeding parliamentarians 
and generations. (Loud Applause.) 

whftne" Sir James Whitney then said : 

Your Honour, — We have here to-day a gen- 
tleman who was a former law partner of Mr. 
Macdonald, Mr. D. B. Maclennan, King's 
Counsel, of Cornwall, who has kindly con- 
sented to say a few words. 

Mr.D.B. ]y[ n Maclennan, standing near the centre of 

Maclennan ' ° 

the aisle dividing the House, said: 

Your Honour, ladies and gentlemen, — I sup- 
pose this will be the best position for a man 
who is supposed to take a non-partisan view 
of the function that we are dealing with to- 
day. We have heard the Premier of the 
Province on one side and Mr. MacKay upon 
the other. As an old friend of the late John 
Sandfleld Macdonald, and as a continued 
friend of the family who have survived him, 
it affords me very great pleasure to be here 
to-day to say a word or two. 

There is very little left to be said after the 
fine appreciation of the Premier and the very 
cordial and full address of Mr. MacKay. I 


think probably the sketches that we have of^ r ? B - 

r J Maclennan 

the life of the late Mr. Macdonald are rather 
misleading. He has been described as a man 
who was erratic, who floated from side to side, 
while the very opposite is the case. He always 
stood firm, and generally when he disagreed 
with anybody it was the other man who took 
the wrong side. Now, the reason that Mr. 
Dent and afterwards Mr. Rattray have failed 
to get a proper appreciation and to present to 
the public a proper estimate of Mr, Mac- 
donald's career is because they themselves 
failed to grasp the cardinal feature of Mr. 
Macdonald's character as a politician. 

Now, the cardinal feature of his character 
as a parliamentarian was, first of all, honesty 
of purpose. There is no doubt whatever in 
regard to that. It is true he had some mental 
peculiarities, and one of these was that he 
would not submit to dictation from anybody. 
He would not join a Government if the Leader 
of that Government entertained views to which 
he could not assent. He took this stand 
from an honest motive, because he thought 
that if he gave up any of his opinions enter- 
tained with regard to political questions for 
the sake of securing position, he would be 


M f c r le ^; selling himself. Now, probably in that Mr. 
Macdonald may not have been right, because 
I think it is generally conceded now that in the 
formation of political organizations for the 
administration of the affairs of the country 
there must be concessions to secure accord, 
and there must be accord for the purpose of 
carrying on the Government of the country. 
Mr. Macdonald's reason for that attitude 
is one that we can appreciate and approve 
when we look at it from his standpoint. 
We find that he found it extremely difficult to 
co-operate with any Leader. As he was about 
to be introduced into the Cabinet of Mr. 
Hincks he quarreled with Mr. Hincks before 
he got in. He had the opportunity of going 
in, but would not go. Four years later, in a 
Cabinet the duration of which is variously 
estimated at from two to four days, of 
which Mr. Macdonald was a member, that 
period was long enough to see the develop- 
ment of some pretty acute disagreements 
between Mr. Macdonald and his Leader, the 
late Honourable George Brown. If that Gov- 
ernment had not resigned at the end of four 
days, we would certainly have had a resigna- 
tion in that Government before the week's 


end, and Mr. Macdonald would have been out J* r - ?• B - 

7 Maclennan 

of the Government because he could not get 
on with the Leader. Now, that was charac- 
teristic of Mr. Macdonald. I do not cite it from 
any disrespect for Mr. Brown, who was a great 
man, but these two men were very much of 
the same kind. They were both rather 
inclined to be dictatorial, and if you get two 
dictators joined together, either one or the 
other must give way. But later on, after 
the lapse of another period of four years, 
in the year 1862, when Mr. Macdonald was 
called upon to form a Government, we find 
those characteristic features during his two 
years of administration of the Governments of 
Canada were just the complement of what 
his characteristics were before. While before 
he was a colleague who could not accept the 
dictation of a Leader, when he became a 
Leader he did not dictate to anybody. When 
he became the Leader of the Government he 
accepted the suggestions of other colleagues, 
and when a colleague had a suggestion on any 
particular point, the person first to approve 
of it was generally the Prime Minister. Now 
the same occurred in the year 1867, when he 
was the first Premier of the Province. No 


M^iennfn man was more genial, more respected by his 
colleagues; no man paid greater consideration 
to his colleagues than did the Premier at that 
time. We have never heard of any disagree- 
ment; generally the view of the majority pre- 
vailed, but as before, as Mr. Macdonald did 
in his earlier Premiership, so he did from the 
year 1867 down to 1871, and all his colleagues, 
from Matthew Crooks Cameron down, bear 
testimony that there never was a more generous 
Leader nor a man with whom it was easier 
to get on when he was Leader than the late 
Mr. Sandfield Macdonald. 

Now, of course, we find him here in these 
two situations. In the one situation he fitted 
in well. If, as a colleague in a Government, 
he did not adopt the proper view, the view he 
took is one which we can respect and one 
which is attributable to his distinct and well- 
understood honesty of purpose, because if 
there ever was an honest politician in this or 
any other country, John Sandfield Macdonald 
was an honest politician; there is no doubt 
whatever in regard to that. Now, after he 
passes away we find what is somewhat unique 
in the history of a politician — we find that his 
record was very often cited as an example of 


the proper method of administering the Gov- ^ c ^ an 
ernment of a country. Those who were 
readers of the Toronto Mail during the 
twenty years following Mr. Macdonald's 
death will very well remember that that paper 
referred frequently to the fine record of the 
late John Sandfield Macdonald as an adminis- 
trator of the Government. Now, it is just an 
accident that that reference was made by 
the Mail instead of by the Globe. It 
was done by the Mail because that paper 
brought these reminiscences forward as a 
means of criticism of the Government of 
the day, and if Sir Oliver Mowat had 
not been so tenacious of power, and if the 
Conservatives had been in power, the Globe 
probably would have referred to Sandfield 
Macdonald's record in its criticism of that 

Now, these recollections and these refer- 
ences to a great man have ceased to appear. 
We have heard nothing of them for some 
time, and very, very opportunely the Govern- 
ment of this Province has thought proper, and 
I think very wisely so, to erect a memorial in 
the form of a statue which His Honour will 
very shortly unveil to perpetuate the memory 


Mr. D. B. 

of this great man. Some people think that 
that is not the best way to perpetuate 
one's memory. We all remember that the late 
Dr. McCaul, a man of great eloquence, when 
making a speech and pouring out his rolling 
periods, spoke of some man's fame as enduring 
forever, and contrasted it with the short-lived 
memorial furnished by brass and marble, but 
the good doctor was a little mistaken about that. 
He nailed the negative part of the proposition 
to his masthead; that is, he took the exception 
instead of grasping the rule, and the rule is, 
however great a man may be, the memory of 
him will soon pass away. But the Govern- 
ment of this Province has determined that the 
memory of the late Premier shall not pass 
away, and for succeeding generations the 
monument which will be unveiled to-day will 
recall the history of a man whose compatriots 
and contemporaries have all passed away. 

The duty which I have now to perform is 
an exceedingly pleasant duty, that is to return 
to the Government and especially to Sir James 
Whitney, the Premier, the thanks of Mr. 
Macdonald's family and surviving friends for 
the very considerate and proper action which 
they have taken in erecting the statue which is 


to be unveiled to-day. I think that the people 
of this country generally, the people of this 
Province generally, approve very highly of 
what the Government has done. They have 
good reason to approve of it. What has been 
done has recalled and has brought up the 
memory afresh of Mr. Macdonald's fine 
career, and it will perpetuate that career for 
all time. I have to thank the Government, I 
have to thank Sir James Whitney for having 
done what they have done. Many people in 
Stormont and Glengarry have observed the 
announcement of the project, which is receiv- 
ing its final touch to-day, with the greatest 
possible satisfaction. It has pleased every- 
body of both political parties; it is taken to be 
a non-partisan movement, and both political 
parties are extremely well pleased. We have 
with us to-day Mr. Macdonald's daughter, 
Madame Langlois, who is a resident of the 
Province of Quebec. The other daughters are 
residents of England, but Madame Langlois 
is here to-day, as well as her two sons, and I 
am sure it gives them great satisfaction to be 
present on this occasion and to witness the 
presence of so large an assemblage to do 
honour to the memory of their distinguished 
progenitor. (Applause. ) 


Mr. D. B. 


6 whftney ^ir J ames Whitney: — The artist and sculp- 
tor, Mr. Allward, is, I believe, present some- 
where, but, with a peculiar modesty, almost 
equal, I may say to that of the average lawyer 
(laughter), he objects to come forward and 
be heard, but is perfectly content and satisfied 
if we will let him alone and allow the work 
to be judged by its appearance in future. 

Now, owing to the inclemency of the 
weather, the possibility of which I may say 
we had in view when we decided that the pro- 
ceedings should take place in this Chamber, 
and very fortunately so apparently — owing to 
the weather, I would suggest that Your Honour 
perform the duty that falls to you, Sir, without 
leaving the room, and instead of going down 
to the monument outside, that Your Honour 
will order that the monument be unveiled, 
which will be done. (Applause.) 

His Honour f-[is Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor: — 

the Lieutenant 

Governor Sir James, ladies and gentlemen, — The posi- 
tion I have been occupying here during the last 
half hour is rather unique, listening from the 
Speaker's Chair or the Throne to speeches by 
the Leader of the Government and the Leader 
of the Opposition. It is apt to suggest an 


extremely anomalous situation. (Hear, hear, His Honour 

x 'the Lieutenant 

and laughter.) However, it has been very Governor 
agreeable, notwithstanding any unconstitu- 
tional aspect that might be suggested. It is 
indeed a pleasant thing when public men of 
both political parties, without regard to present 
political antagonisms, can unite on an occasion 
such as this in doing honour to a promin- 
ent public man of days gone by. I desire 
to express the great pleasure that I have 
felt in common, I know, with you all in listen- 
ing to the short account given of the life of 
this statesman by his old student at law 
and by his old partner. It is fitting and 
proper, that, occupying the very prominent 
positions which they occupy in the country 
and in the community, they should be the 
spokesmen of this occasion, interpreting pub- 
licly what they believe to be the prevailing 
sentiment and what I think they have truly 
and fairly and reasonably stated to be the 
public sentiment regarding a prominent states- 
man who has disappeared from the scene years 

I may be permitted to say a word or two, 
although I have come here with the idea of 
merely performing a very formal part in con- 


theTfeutenant nection with this ceremony. One can scarcely 

Governor Jj sten fo W \ l ^ h aS \ ) qq U g^d W ith0Ut SOHie 

ideas occurring to him, and I am going to 
take the liberty of just a word or two. In 
common with many of my own age — not 
extremely old and not by any means as 
young as we used to be — I have a distinct 
recollection of the late John Sandfield Mac- 
donald, though never having had a personal 
acquaintance. I was then a reader of the 
newspapers, of political discussions in the 
newspapers, and was one who formed, at that 
comparatively early age, a decided admiration 
of many of the characteristics of the man. 
Undoubtedly, in his later career, or towards the 
end of his political career, he had a pretty hard 
place to fill in the Legislature. Others subse- 
quent to that time have also had that, 
(laughter). But one cannot recall those 
days in 1871 without feeling a good deal of 
sympathy with a leader of a political party 
who occupied his position and went through 
what he did. So far as I can recall the situa- 
tion, I do not think that he was put out of 
power on account of either any irregularity of 
administration or of any criticism that he had 
exposed himself to in connection with his 


public policy. It is true that fault was found ^ s £°"™ r ant 

because some of the public institutions had Governor 

been placed in localities where the political 

atmosphere was congenial. Well, nowadays 

and long since — ever since, perhaps, I may 

say — Governments have not thought verymuch 

of that, neither do political parties, neither do 

the public. Other things being equal, or pretty 

nearly equal, it seems almost a natural thing 

to do, and I think that was one of the main sins 

that he was credited with at that time. 

Perhaps, after all, his chief sinning was that 
he, by means of his Patent Combination Gov- 
ernment, as the phrase has already been used, 
was keeping out of power the Liberal party, 
who thought they represented the Province at 
large. I think that was really the reason that 
he was displaced, although everyone will 
admit, the most extreme Liberals of the pres- 
ent day with a knowledge of public men of that 
time will admit, must admit, that he had asso- 
ciated with him in the Government of this 
Province men of great ability, of the high- 
est reputation for integrity and honesty that 
any man could have surrounded himself 
with. He was said to be a pretty close man 
in connection with the finances of the Province, 



eTfeutenant a ^ most approaching to the extent of meanness. 
Governor j t j s true fa^ t h e economy of his administra- 
tion, financially speaking, went to the extreme, 
but in those early days of Confederation, when 
the wheels of the new constitution were being 
merely set in motion, it was the part of the 
prudent statesman, the prudent administrator, 
to go cautiously and slowly, and not to estab- 
lish permanent methods of expenditure which 
the financial resources and the normal rev- 
enues of the Province might not warrant. 
The best proof that he was justified in being 
cautious in reference to the financial adminis- 
tration, is to be found in the budget speeches 
of his Treasurer, and it is almost amusing to 
read some of those speeches and to observe 
the great anxiety of the Provincial Treasurer 
of those days lest the absolute necessities of 
the administration might go beyond the finan- 
cial powers of the Province in those early 
days, and then to compare the revenues and 
expenditures of those days with the revenues 
and expenditures of days not long subsequent, 
and particularly at the present time. No pub- 
lic man should be criticised because he shows 
evidences of thrift and of caution, and those 
two characteristics were very strongly brought 


out in the administration of the affairs of this™ s T Honour 

the Lieutenant 

Province by the Honourable John Sandfield G 

Now, we all know that the public man 
seldom gets justice while he is alive. The 
verdict of the people is generally very severe 
on him, and is almost certain to fail in doing 
him justice. That is, to a certain extent, the 
result of partyism, but not altogether. The 
verdict of posterity is apt to be just, and is 
sometimes more than just, with regard to pub- 
lic men who have gone. At all events it is a 
pleasant thing to know that after a public 
man's life is over, after he is dead and 
gone the public do not altogether forget the 
good record he has left behind him, that 
his good deeds should live after him, that 
his record, which he appreciated when he was 
making it, but which his fellow citizens did 
not appreciate to the full extent, is recognized 
in the years which follow after, and it is there- 
fore, as I say, a pleasure to see the public repre- 
sented on the present occasion, both political 
parties doing honor to a gentleman who was a 
leading public man of his Province, and whose 
period of greatness was a period of the utmost 
importance to the well-being of this Province 
during the last forty or fifty years. 



His Honour jyj ow i ac jies and gentlemen, I shall not 

the Lieutenant ' <-> 

Governor detain you by making any further extempore 
remarks, but, in pursuance of the suggestion 
that has been made, formally unveil this 
statue in the name of the people of this 
Province of Ontario to the honour and the 
memory of this good man who occupied 
so prominent a position in public life. An 
honest man, certainly a man of great inde- 
pendence of thought and action, a man with 
whom the chief consideration, the only consid- 
eration, was what was for the good and the 
benefit and the advantage of his country, a 
man whose chief ambition, whose ruling ambi- 
tion, through public life at all events, was that 
he should be a faithful public servant. I now, 
therefore, direct that the statue of the first 
Prime Minister of this Province, the Honour- 
able John Sandfield Macdonald, be duly un- 
veiled to the public. (Applause.) 

As His Honour concluded, a signal was given 
to the artist, Mr. Allward, who had in the 
meantime taken his position close to the statue, 
and the folds of the Union Jack fell away, 
revealing the figure of the well-known states- 
man. Only one opinion was expressed by 


those who knew Mr. Macdonald, viz., that 
the statue is in every respect a success. The 
suggestion of power and action in the pose 
of the figure was noticed and commented upon 

In view of the historic nature of the occasion 
the Government decided to publish these 
addresses in the present form, along with the 
accompanying press comment, as a convenient 
means of recording the appreciation by the 
present generation of the life and character 
of the first Prime Minister of Ontario. 

Globe, Toronto, November 17th, 1909:— TheGlobe 
The place occupied in Canadian political his- 
tory by the statesman in whose honour a 
statue was yesterday unveiled in the vicinity 
of the Ontario Parliament buildings is not 
merely definite but clearly ascertainable. He 
entered public life before he was thirty, and 
he remained in it till his death at sixty. The 
intervening thirty years were filled with cease- 
less activity in one or other of the three Parlia- 
ments of which he was a member: that of the 
Province of Canada prior to 1867, and those 
of the Dominion of Canada and the Province 
of Ontario, respectively, after that date. He 
was elected to the first Canadian Parliament 
after the union of Upper and Lower Canada 
in 1841, and he was Premier of the first Minis- 


The Globe tr y f t h e Province of Ontario from 1867 to 
1871. His death took place in 1872. 

Mr. Macdonald entered political life with his 
mind made up as to the expediency, if not the 
necessity, of introducing " responsible govern- 
ment." He had seen for himself the outcome 
of a half century of irresponsible administra- 
tion, and he assisted in carrying into effect the 
views of Lord Durham. The struggle for the 
establishment of the system lasted till 1847, 
and during all the intervening period he played 
the part of an independent Reformer. This 
attitude he never abandoned, and on some 
important questions he never co-operated with 
the party to which he nominally belonged. 
One of these was " representation by popula- 
tion," which he steadily opposed, though he 
also opposed a Federal union as the means of 
resolving what threatened to become a chronic 
deadlock. No one knew better than he the 
hopelessness of the situation, for he carried 
on an Administration from 1862 to 1864 with 
a majority of only two in the popular Chamber. 

It fell to Mr. Macdonald's lot, as the first 
Premier of Ontario, to organize the public 
service of this Province and give direction to 
its legislation. How well he did this work is 
best shown by the fact that the lines he laid 
down and the precedents he set have never 
since been greatly departed from. As a 
Parliamentary leader he lacked the finesse 
that was so outstanding an accomplishment in 
Sir John Macdonald, his great contemporary, 


but he was perfectly trustworthy in the man- The Globe 
agement of the public finances, and he was by 
no means unprogressive in the measures he 
took for the development of the country — 
rather was taking, for his administrative career 
was prematurely cut short by a Parliamentary 
defeat, followed soon after by his death. 

It was eminently fitting that the present 
Premier of the Province, Sir James Whitney, 
should be privileged to pronounce a eulogy on 
the first man who held his present position, 
and in whose office he studied for the legal 
profession. The opportunity was a good one 
for the leader of the Opposition, Mr. A. G. 
MacKay, to display his well-known aptitude 
for delivering public addresses. Their 
speeches, and that of Lieutenant-Governor 
Gibson, who did the unveiling, were quite 
worthy of the occasion and of the subject. 

The News, Toronto, November 16th, 1909: The News 
— John Sandfield Macdonald, the statue to 
whose memory was unveiled to-day by Hon. 
J. M. Gibson, well deserves the tribute paid 
him by his native Province. He played a 
large part in the history of Old Canada after 
the Union of 1841. He possessed talent, 
industry and character. Of marked inde- 
pendence, he refused to follow the lead of 
George Brown, nor could Sir John Macdonald, 
with all his art, ensnare him. Sandfield, as 
he was universally called, remained to the end 
a Liberal of moderate views, and always dis- 


TheNews dained office unless it came to him on his 
own terms. 

Such a man was unique then as he would 
be unique now. During the period of racial 
and religious tension, which lasted from 1855 
to 1865, he was called to the place of First 
Minister by Sir Edmund Head.. But his 
Government went the way of all the others. 
When the leading men of both parties, seeing 
that a new Constitution on a wider basis was 
necessary, coalesced to carry Confederation, 
Sandfield, curiously enough, remained aloof. 
It would have been better tactics to have joined 
the others, but he sat by, cynical and unyield- 
ing, when Union emerged from political chaos. 

Once the thing was done, however, it was 
characteristic of Sandfield Macdonald to 
accept the new order, and work under it with 
spirit and fidelity. There never was a close 
understanding between him and Sir John 
Macdonald. The latter, as the first Prime 
Minister of the Dominion, must have suggested 
to Lord Monck in 1867 the advisability of 
selecting Sandfield to form the first Ontario 
Government. It was of necessity a coalition. 
The Conservatives supported it in a body. A 
few Liberals — known to history as the Nine 
Martyrs — followed Sandfield. The arrange- 
ment gave great offence to the stalwart 
Liberals, led by Brown, Mackenzie and Blake. 
Brown was out of both Legislature and Parlia- 
ment. He was the power behind the throne. 

As dual representation prevailed, Mackenzie 

and Blake sat in both Houses, the former lead- The News 
ing at Ottawa, the latter at Toronto. To 
oppose this powerful combination was the task 
of a political Hercules. But Sandfield Mac- 
donald brought his alert mind and high courage 
into play, and his defeat was due solely to his 
carelessness as a tactician, not to any lack of 
statesmanship or creative power. 

Having amassed an ample fortune in the 
practice of his profession, possessing a long 
Parliamentary experience, and knowing his 
own Province intimately, Sandfield Macdonald 
made an admirable Prime Minister. His pride 
of race drew to him the willing allegiance of 
the Highlanders, and his breadth of view 
secured him the respect of many Protestants. 
He gave Ontario clean, honest, vigorous gov- 
ernment. The record of Provincial adminis- 
tration during the five years succeeding Con- 
federation is a creditable page in our annals. 
The foundations on which we have since built 
were all laid then — sound finance, organized 
education, agriculural training, institutions 
for the sick and afflicted. 

Party strife never ceased, and Blake and 
Mackenzie co-operated with an enthusiasm 
which they were not to show subsequently in 
the Federal arena. Mr. Pope, in his memoirs 
of Sir John Macdonald, says that materials 
exist for writing the history of the downfall 
of the Ministry. The secret chronicles we have 
not, but the facts known to all men sufficiently 
explain the result. The general election of 


The News 1371 ^ad greatly reduced his majority, and 
Sandfield summoned the Legislature before 
the protested elections were decided. The 
Ministry fell after some dramatic scenes in the 
Legislature, and its chief, sick and dispirited, 
soon after passed to his rest. 

It is appropriate that the erection of a hand- 
some statue to our first Prime Minister should 
proceed from a Government which resembles 
that of Sandfield Macdonald in some of its 
best aspects, and whose First Minister was 
closely associated with him as a young law 
student and a political supporter. The event 
of to-day preserves for succeeding generations 
a political career which well deserves a public 
tribute, and the fact that Sir James Whitney 
worthily occupies the post once held by John 
Sandfield Macdonald adds to the interest of 
the occasion. 

The Daily Star 

The Daily Star, Toronto, November 17th, 
1909: — The career of John Sandfield Mac- 
donald, whose statue was unveiled at the 
Parliament Buildings yesterday, bridges over 
an important change in the history of Canada. 
He was the head of one of the Governments 
of Old Canada before Confederation. He 
was the first Premier of the new Province of 
Ontario. He had numerous opportunities of 
observing the defects of the old system, and 
he helped to place the new system on a solid 
basis. All agree that he was an honest, thrifty, 
and patriotic Minister, and a lovable man, with 


just enough snap and temper to save his good- TheDail v star 
ness from insipidity. 

Because the history of Canada has been 
almost free from bloodshed it is sometimes 
thought to be lacking in interest and even in 
importance. But it may be just because of the 
moderation and good sense of our public men 
that our history has been peaceful. It would 
not have been difficult for rash and unwise 
men to involve Canada in a serious racial and 
religious quarrel, or in a quarrel with the 
United States. Our public men of both 
parties art entitled to more credit than they 
receive for their handling of these questions. 

Without involving Great Britain in any 
serious difficulty, or causing her any great 
anxiety, Canada achieved self-government, 
and after some years of trial exchanged the old 
legislative union for a federal system, and 
enlarged the old Province of Canada to a 
Dominion extending from ocean to ocean. 
These ideas were in the main conceived and 
worked out by Canadians, and their achieve- 
ments are legitimate subjects for national pride 
and gratitude. 


Printed by 


29-37 Richmond Street West